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A Baseball Fan's Guide to the 2013 MLB's GM/Owner Meetings

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A Baseball Fan's Guide to the 2013 MLB's GM/Owner Meetings
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Lost in the shuffle of Major League Baseball awards madness, we are about to embark on is the start of the owners and general manager meetings in Orlando, Florida. 

While not as hyped or noteworthy as the Winter Meetings, which will take place December 9-12, the GM/owner meetings can and have produced several memorable moments that have changed the fortunes of teams and Major League Baseball. 

In an effort to better educate you on what will be happening from November 11-14,

Here is all you need to know about what will be going on in Disney World with executives from all 30 MLB clubs from November 11-14.

 

What are the GM/Owners Meetings?

These meetings take place annually over the course of four days in early to mid November. They serve as a wrap-up to the season that just ended, as well as a way for all 30 teams to plan for the upcoming season. 

Getting executives from all 30 teams in one location allows them to discuss everything from potential personnel moves, via trades and free agency, to implementing/discussing possible rule changes. 

It should also be clarified that these are two different sets of meetings. The general managers kick things off on November 11 through the 13th, while the owners get a little overlap on November 13 and 14th. 

 

How Common Are Moves/Deals Now?

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

One reason these meetings don't command much attention is because there doesn't figure to be a lot of free-agent movement or trades, though that doesn't mean nothing happens on those fronts. 

It's easier to get a deal done with a free agent during the Winter Meetings because you have so many different people in one spot. There are general managers, owners, agents and, at times, players will be in town. 

This is not that kind of event, though it doesn't mean things don't get done. For instance, even though it didn't happen during the GM/owner meetings, the Blue Jays and Marlins laid the groundwork for their blockbuster trade last year. 

It takes time for teams to put a budget for the upcoming season in place, but if a general manager and/or owner already has an idea what it will be, moves can take shape this week even though we aren't likely to see anything official for at least a week or two. 

 

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Possible Rule Changes

Marc Serota/Getty Images

The biggest issue likely to be resolved this week involves home plate collisions. Buster Olney of ESPN reported that there is a lot of support out there to get the rule changed in an effort to protect players.

Sources say that a growing number of team executives are strongly in favor of change, especially in light of developed medical information about concussions and a refined understanding of the cost of injuries resulting from collisions -- to the players involved and the clubs.

A "growing number" is incredibly vague. Does this mean it will have enough support for a change to take place? What would a change actually entail? Would catchers be forbidden from standing in front of the plate to block the runner?

There is also the matter of instant replay, which got a successful expanded look during Arizona Fall League action the week before these meetings. It was a simple challenge system that gave managers the right to contest out/safe calls. 

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post noted that if the expanded replay topic comes up, a decision likely wouldn't be ratified until January because it also requires the approval of the players' and umpires' union.

 

A St. Louis-Colorado Blockbuster?

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

One of the biggest potential trades that could take shape at these meetings involves Troy Tulowitzki to the St. Louis Cardinals. 

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, officials from the Cardinals and Rockies will look to discuss a potential deal involving the All-Star shortstop to the National League champions. 

Officials from the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies are expected to meet at the GM/owners' meetings in Orlando this week and discuss parameters of a potential trade involving Troy Tulowitzki, which already has been broached in informal talks between the parties, sources with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports.

I am of the opinion that it would take a miracle for a Tulo-to-St. Louis deal to happen. There is too much money owed to Tulowitzki for the next six years ($134 million), especially given his age (29) and injury history. 

That doesn't even factor in what it would cost the Cardinals in prospects/young assets (Shelby Miller? Oscar Taveras?) to get Rockies executives to sign off on a deal involving a player they view as the face of the franchise. 

Still, it's fun to think about all the hypothetical trade rumors we will hear trickling out over the next few days. 

 

What's happening with David Price?

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

It's no secret that the Tampa Bay Rays have a limited financial ceiling with an ace pitcher going into his third year of arbitration after making $10 million in 2013. 

The time appears to be right for the Rays to put David Price on the market. Like James Shields at the time of his trade to Kansas City last year, the former Cy Young winner is two years from free agency and will make a reasonable salary in the meantime. 

By all accounts, the Rays are prepared to shop Price this winter. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted that the biggest obstacle to a deal happening could be the price. 

But if you are a team like Texas (just my speculation), with a deep farm system, money to spend and holes to fill, the idea of a player like Price being out there has to be intriguing, at the very least. 

Finding out answers, if we do, to Price and his future with the Rays will be one of the biggest stories to come out of the GM and Owner Meetings. 

 

Masahiro Tanaka's Future

Via NatsNation37

Within the same Ken Davidoff piece mentioned earlier is a note on potential changes to the posting process for international players, especially as it pertains to Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka

Under the current system, the Rakuten Golden Eagles would post Tanaka and all 30 MLB teams would have the right to bid on him for a certain period of time. After the deadline, Rakuten would examine the bids, take the highest one and Tanaka would be allowed to negotiate with that team. 

Changes discussed, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, would have three teams win the right to negotiate with a player. This would give a player, in this case Tanaka, a chance to earn more money since teams would be negotiating a deal against each other. 

Sherman does say that particular change isn't likely to happen, but "there will be alterations in the process."

We still won't get an answer on where Tanaka will play in 2014 by the end of the week, but we could have a better understanding of the process he and Rakuten will go through in order for the 25-year-old to play Major League Baseball. 

 

Putting A Bow On It

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

If you are looking for the GM and Owner Meetings to provide the flashy substance of the MLB offseason, you will be sorely disappointed. This is an event where things get done, but they are usually just on a base level. 

The bulk of the offseason work is going to happen in December at the Winter Meetings. That's where players like Robinson Cano, Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury will figure out where they are suiting up in 2014. 

However, what these meetings may lack in substance, they make up for in resonance. If your team makes an offer to Choo or Ellsbury, or trading for Price or Tulowitzki, it's likely that decision was made after going through this week of meetings. 

There is a lot of behind-the-scenes action going on in Major League Baseball. It's not like these deals magically come together in five minutes. They take time, patience and a lot of work from both sides. 

All of that effort gets put into place this week. 

 

Contract information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts. If you want to talk baseball, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. 

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